- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The D.C. inspector general is investigating Fire Chief Ronnie Few for errors in his resume, while Assistant Fire Chief Gary L. Garland, who was disciplined for false information in his resume, has said he will resign.
Inspector General Charles Maddox has added Chief Few's resume to an ongoing inquiry of the fire chief's hiring of a friend as a consultant without disclosing his ties to the contractor, city officials said.
Since last week, investigators have interviewed city officials and members of the selection committee that recruited and interviewed Chief Few in 1999. They have asked if Chief Few corrected errors in his resume or made any untrue claims.
Stephen Harlan, former D.C. financial control board member and chairman of the fire chief search committee in 1999, yesterday said he has been questioned by the inspector general about Chief Few's resume and the selection process.
"They were checking out what was said to the committee," he said. "What I can remember was he held an associate's degree, and we had checked it out."
Mr. Harlan would not disclose more information.
Lt. Raymond Sneed, president of the D.C. Fire Fighters Association Local 36 and a member of the selection committee, said he also has been interviewed by the inspector general's office about Chief Few's resume.
"I think they are going back and double-checking the resume issue. They wanted to know at the time who dealt with the resume in the selection committee. They wanted to verify the resume issue," Lt. Sneed said yesterday.
Gloria Johnson, chief of staff and spokeswoman for the inspector general, said she could not comment.
Lisa Bass, spokeswoman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said she was not aware of the inspector general's investigation.
Miss Bass also said Chief Garland has decided to resign effective May 26.
The Washington Times first reported March 13 that Chief Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan lied in their resumes about having held the rank of chief in their previous jobs in the East Point, Ga., Fire Department.
The firefighters, whose resumes also had errors about their educational achievements, were friends and subordinates of Chief Few when he led the East Point Fire Department in the 1990s.
The Washington Post reported April 12 that Chief Few's resume erroneously stated that he had received a bachelor's degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and received the "1998 Fire Chief of the Year" award from the International Association of Fire Fighters, which does not bestow such awards.
City Administrator John Koskinen, who investigated the resume scandal for six weeks, said all four chiefs were disciplined in the matter on April 26.
Chief Garland's resignation comes one month after he was suspended for falsely claiming on his job application that he held an associate's degree from Dillard University in New Orleans. The university has no record of his enrollment or attendance.
Chief Garland claimed a secretary made the error in his job application and his resume.
Chief Anderson returned to work last week and Chief Cowan was back at work yesterday. Neither would comment.
Chief Garland would not comment, and his attorney, Vandy L. Jamison Jr., did not return telephone calls.
Lt. Sneed yesterday said investigators also questioned him about how the city law was changed to allow Chief Few to appoint Chiefs Garland, Anderson and Cowan without competition.
At the request of Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the D.C. Council approved the creation of three jobs fire marshal, EMS chief and safety chief that Chief Few could fill without competition. In return for the carte blanche appointments, Chief Few promised not to hire his cronies.
Mr. Koskinen, who is conducting his own investigation of Chief Few, said last week he had not asked the inspector general to investigate the fire chief.
A city government source said Mr. Koskinen is searching the files of other cities for other resumes sent by Chief Few when he applied for jobs.
Chief Few originally said a secretary made the errors on his resume, but last week he said the mayor's office made the errors.
Tony Bullock, spokesman for Mr. Williams, said yesterday that he does not think the mayor's staff made any changes in Chief Few's resume, and that all biographical information was provided by Chief Few.
"One of the things we do with school board appointments and other new hires is make a press release from resumes we get from personnel and rewrite them to make more of a bio, not just bullets and dates," Mr. Bullock said. "Few is saying we essentially took the resume and were sloppy about converting. But I don't think anyone rewrote it."
Mr. Bullock said he doubts that Mr. Williams will say anything about Chief Few's resume until Mr. Koskinen has completed his investigation.
Sources within the mayor's office said Chief Few has not taken hints from Mr. Williams and others who have suggested that he resign. They said they couldn't guess the reaction of Mr. Williams, who returned to the District yesterday from a trip to Europe.
A city source said the mayor's staffers are furious with Chief Few for trying to place blame on them for putting errors in his resume. "They are livid that he would blame them for his errors," the source said.
The inspector general began investigating Chief Few in December about no-bid contracts awarded to Carl Holmes, a former Oklahoma City assistant fire chief and a friend of Chief Few's for more than 20 years.
The investigation began after The Times reported Dec. 11 that Chiefs Few and Garland had awarded sole-source contracts worth $23,500 to Carl Holmes and Associates since October 2000.
Mr. Holmes worked 13 days for the department, earning a daily fee of about $1,800.
Chiefs Few and Garland both worked as instructors and lecturers for Mr. Holmes at the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, but neither disclosed their ties to the contractor on their city financial disclosure reports.
City disclosure laws require than any affiliation and payments of more than $100 from city contractors be identified. Filing a false financial disclosure statement can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail, according to the D.C. Code.
Chiefs Garland and Anderson both claimed they attended Dillard University but actually attended Mr. Holmes' conference at the university. The institute is not affiliated with the university, which only rents space to Mr. Holmes.
The confusion in Chief Few's resume also involves the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, which gave him the fire chief award not the International Association of Fire Fighters.
The institute's curriculum includes classes in fire management, resume writing and creative writing courses.
Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide